anagnori

“On Madness” by Leon Tolstoy, 1910

In philosophy, psychology, society on May 22, 2012 at 06:56

 

“On Madness” by Leon Tolstoy, 1910 – APHELIS

On one hand, communication is destruction: this has been the case from the first use of a biface stone all the way to Georges Bataille. On the other hand, communication is helpful. This aspect appears in Tolstoy’s quote: together, we’re working very hard to forget our “own madness”. This property of the communication process is very clearly identify in this quote from Vilém Flusser:

The purpose of human communication is to make us forget the meaningless context in which we are completely alone and incommunicado, that is, the world in which we are condemned to solitary confinement and death: the world of “nature.”

Human communication is an artistic technique whose intention it is to make us forget the brutal meaninglessness of a life condemned to death. By “nature,” man is a solitary animal, because he knows that he will die and that his community will not matter in the hour of his death: everyone must die alone. Moreover, every hour is potentially the hour of death. Certainly, no one can live with the knowledge of this fundamen- tal solitude and meaninglessness. Human communication spins a veil around us in the form of the codified world. This veil is made from sci- ence and art, philosophy and religion, and it is spun increasingly denser, so that we forget our solitude and death, including the deaths of others whom we love. In short, man communicates with others. He is a “politi- cal animal,” not because he is a social animal, but because he is a solitary animal who cannot live in solitude.

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